Space Stations

NASA Space Station On-Orbit Status 8 June 2017 – Unpacking Trio of Space Ships

By Marc Boucher
Status Report
June 9, 2017
Filed under , ,
NASA Space Station On-Orbit Status 8 June 2017 – Unpacking Trio of Space Ships
The SpaceX Dragon cargo craft is pictured in the grips of the Canadarm2 robotic arm moments after it was captured early Monday. Credit: NASA.

The three-member Expedition 52 crew is settling down with science and cargo transfers this week after a trio of space ships arrived and departed at the International Space Station. NASA also introduced 12 new astronaut candidates Wednesday who could fly farther into space on newer spacecraft than any astronaut before them.
NASA astronaut Peggy Whitson looked after a student experiment today that is exploring how molds and bacteria adapt to microgravity. Afterward, she measured the lighting in the Destiny and Kibo lab modules to help engineers understand how light affects the habitability of spacecraft.

Flight Engineer Jack Fischer of NASA installed and activated new science hardware delivered aboard the latest SpaceX Dragon cargo craft. Fischer also joined Commander Fyodor Yurchikhin to prepare the station for the departure and arrival of a pair of Russian cargo ships next week. The Progress 66 resupply ship will depart June 13 followed three days later with a new space delivery aboard the Progress 67 cargo craft. Both spaceships are uncrewed.

On Wednesday, NASA celebrated the introduction of 12 new astronaut candidates. The 2017 class will officially report for duty in August and begin training for potential missions aboard NASA spacecraft as well as SpaceX and Boeing commercial spaceships.

On-Orbit Status Report

NanoRacks Module-70: The crew removed NanoRacks Module-70 from the Nanoracks Platform-2 in the Japanese Experiment Module (JEM) and inserted it into a General Laboratory Active Cryogenic ISS Experiment Refrigerator (GLACIER). Module-70 is an educational research project designed to study the effects of radiation damage to synthetic DNA for gene regions that code for a human antibody. The experiment will make copies of the synthetic DNA samples at certain time-points during the mission using a technique called polymerase chain reaction (PCR). The DNA will be returned for study of strand break analysis. The experiment is from the Beijing Institute of Technology (BIT) School of Life Science in Beijing, China.

NanoRacks Module-52: The crew retrieved NanoRacks Module-52 from Minus Eighty Degree Celsius Laboratory Freezer for ISS (MELFI) and initiated sub-experiments that are housed within NanoRacks Module-52. Photographs will be taken of the petri dishes and video will be downlinked. Microscope-3 imagery will also be taken of some of the petri dish slides. NanoRacks Module-52 is a collection of 6 student-led biological experiments photo-documenting the life-cycle of various molds and bacteria on petri plates in microgravity.

NanoRacks Module 9 Operations: The crew activatd mixture tubes today in support of the NanoRacks-National Center for Earth and Space Science-Casper (NanoRacks-NCESSE-Casper) investigation. NCESSE supports various schools and student-designed experiments that address challenges of living and working in space. The program is also a key initiative for U.S. science, technology, engineering and math (STEM), that strives to educate and inspire the next generation of scientists and engineers to work on the space program. The specific investigations supported today include Growth and Development of Fathead Minnows in Microgravity, Possible Effects of Microgravity on Development of Dictyostelium discoideum (a type of cellular slime mold), and Tiny Wings of Glory (which involves the growth and life cycle of Vanessa Cardui (“Painted Lady”) butterflies in microgravity).

JAXA Medium Temperature Protein Crystal Growth (MT PCG): The crew retrieved PCG Samples from the JAXA Freezer-Refrigerator Of STirling cycle 2 (J-FROST2) so that protein crystal growth can begin and will later return the samples back to the FROST2. The main scientific objective of the JAXA MT PCG experiment is to make high quality protein crystals in the microgravity environment at moderate temperature.

Fine Motor Skills (FMS): The crew completed a series of interactive tasks during a FMS session which studies how the fine motor skills are effected by long-term microgravity exposure, different phases of microgravity adaptation, and sensorimotor recovery after returning to Earth gravity. The goal of the investigation is to determine how fine motor performance in microgravity varies over the duration of six-month and year-long space missions; how fine motor performance on orbit compares with that of a closely matched participant on Earth; and how performance varies before and after gravitational transitions, including periods of early flight adaptation and very early/near immediate post-flight periods.

Dose Tracker: The crew completed a weekly medication tracking entry in the Dose Tracker application. Dose Tracker documents the medication usage of crewmembers before and during their missions by capturing data regarding medication use during spaceflight, including side effect qualities, frequencies and severities. The investigation is expected to provide anecdotal evidence of medication effectiveness during flight and any unusual side effects experienced. It is also expected that specific, near-real-time questioning about symptom relief and side effects will provide the data required to establish whether spaceflight-associated alterations in pharmacokinetics or pharmacodynamics is occurring during missions.

Lighting Effects: The crew set up and configured the Light Meter hardware and take readings in the US Lab and the JEM Pressurized Module (JPM). Both modules use the legacy General Luminaire Assembly (GLA). The Lighting Effects experiment hopes to better quantify and qualify how lighting can effect habitability of spacecraft. The light bulbs on the ISS are being replaced with a new system designed for improved crew health and wellness. The Lighting Effects investigation studies the impact of the change from fluorescent light bulbs to solid-state light-emitting diodes (LEDs) with adjustable intensity and color and aims to determine if the new lights can improve crew circadian rhythms, sleep, and cognitive performance. Results from this investigation also have major implications for people on Earth who use electric lights.

Mobile Servicing System (MSS) Operations: Yesterday and overnight, Robotic Ground Controllers powered up the MSS cameras and lights and walked the Space Station Remote Manipulator System (SSRMS) off the Node2 Power Data Grapple Fixture (PDGF) onto Mobile Base System (MBS) PDGF1. They then translated the Mobile Transporter (MT) from Worksite 6 (WS6) to WS2. Finally the Robotics Ground Controllers unstowed the Special Purpose Dexterous Manipulator (SPDM) from MBS PDGF2. The SPDM is holding the Multiple User System for Earth Sensing (MUSES) payload on the Enhanced Orbital Replacement Unit (ORU) Temporary Platform (EOTP) which will be installed later today on Express Logistic Carrier 4 (ELC4).

Today’s Planned Activities
All activities were completed unless otherwise noted.

JAXA MT PCG Sample Preparation
Fine Motor Skills Experiment Test – Subject
JEM TEPC Dosimeter Installation
Recharging Soyuz 735 Samsung PC Battery (if charge level is below 80%)
NanoRacks Platform-2 Module-70 Removal
NanoRacks Module-70 Glacier Insert
Combustion Integrated Rack Alignment Guide Install
Verification of ??-1 Flow Sensor Position
Station Support Computer (SSC) System Vent Cleaning
Electrostatic Levitation Furnace(ELF) Argon gas QD connection
Adjustment of Condensate Pumping Unit (???) operation mode
Nanoracks Module 52 MELFI Retrieve
Restow Vestibule Outfitting Kit (VOK)
Intermodule TORU Test with Mated Progress 435
Rodent Research MELFI Insert
NanoRacks Module-52 Start
MPEG-2 TV downlink test via Ku-band prior to Progress 436 docking
Space Automated Bioproduct Lab Activation and Checkout
Vacuum Pressure Gauge Accuracy Check
NanoRacks Module 9 Ops Session 2
Consolidation of Personal Hygiene Article for Priority Use
Lighting Effects Light Meter Readings Alternate 2
EXPRESS Rack 8 Locker Removal
Polar Dragon Uninstall, Handover, Transfer and EXPRESS Rack Install
Cold Stowage Double Cold bag Ice brick Stow
Terminate Soyuz 735 Samsung PC Battery Charge (as necessary)
Glacier Supply Line Braycote Application
Habitability Human Factors Directed Observations – Subject
Rodent Research 5 Injection Review
Rodent Research Crew Conference
Inventory Management System (IMS) Conference
Metal Oxide (METOX) Regeneration Initiation

Completed Task List Items
Genes in Space (GIS) Sample Photos, Minus Eighty Degree Laboratory Freezer for ISS (MELFI) Ops, and Maintenance Work Area (MWA) prep

Ground Activities
All activities were completed unless otherwise noted.
Rodent Research ops support
NanoRacks ops support

Three-Day Look Ahead:
Friday, 06/07: Glacier Install, Rodent Research ops, Progress On-Board Training
Saturday, 06/08: Rodent Research ops, Dragon Polar ops, Housekeeping
Sunday, 6/09: Stem Cell media change, Crew off duty

SpaceRef co-founder, entrepreneur, writer, podcaster, nature lover and deep thinker.